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Latest unemployment statistics directly contradict claims

4 March 2013: News from CPAG

Latest unemployment statistics directly contradict government claims

The latest unemployment statistics directly contradict government claims that unemployment has increased because more people have entered the labour force, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Both Bill English and Paula Bennett have argued that the labour force participation rate has increased due to their welfare reforms. However, CPAG analysis of the latest Household Labour Force Survey found 33,000 people left the workforce in the December quarter. The numbers also show 11,000 fewer women in work in December than just three months earlier in September.

CPAG researcher Donna Wynd says the government's determination to move people off benefits when there is already insufficient work for those looking for employment is very concerning, and raises serious questions about how families will get sufficient income if the government presses ahead with its targets.

"Bill English has stated the government wants to move 28,000-44,000 people off benefits over the next four years yet there seems to be little thought given to where they will go. Many of those will be families with children and it is difficult to reconcile the government's stated concern for vulnerable children with its desire to make fiscal savings at the expense of the poorest families.

"Labour force participation rates have fallen dramatically for Maori and Pacific families. When considered with the fall in the numbers of women working, this should set alarm bells ringing about how families, and sole parents in particular, are earning enough income to get by. If women, whether as primary or secondary income earners, continue to lose jobs we should expect to see more hardship in both sole and two-parent families," said Ms Wynd.

As more people continue to lose jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector and its supporting businesses, CPAG has called again for support for families to be strengthened by extending the In-Work Tax Credit to all low-income families.

"The Government has made it more difficult to receive a benefit and moved some third-tier support to already-stretched social services. It is not enough to say the jobs market will pick up some unspecified time in the future. Families need help now."


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